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MUMIA STILL HELD IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT – A LEGAL UPDATE
Mumia is still in Administrative Custody (AC)—the hole—at SCI Mahanoy. The confinement conditions in all the Restricted Housing Units (RHU) are degrading and tortuous.
Mumia is on a cellblock that houses AC as well as disciplinary custody inmates. He is in solitary confinement, with lights glaring 24/7, without adequate food, or the opportunity to buy food to supplement his diet. He is shackled and handcuffed whenever outside his solitary cell—including when he goes to shower. And he is isolated without regular phone calls, or access to his property, including legal materials, books and typewriter. His visiting hours are limited. In short, Mumia is being subjected to conditions in AC that are more onerous than those on death row.
There is no legal basis for Mumia to be confined in AC. At the point he was no longer under a death sentence, he should have been transferred into general population. This is not dependent on a court date for Mumia to be formally resentenced to life imprisonment.
On January 3 and January 6, 2012 I submitted demand letters on Mumia’s behalf to John Wetzel, Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC), and to John Kerestes, Superintendent SCI Mahanoy, to immediately transfer and assign Mumia to general population with full visitation, phone and commissary privileges and access to all programs and services. The stated legal grounds are the following: The degrading, dehumanizing, tortuous conditions of Mumia Abu- Jamal’s confinement in administrative custody at SCI Mahanoy are an abuse of authority, counter to DOC regulations, punitive, discriminatory, in violation of his protected liberty interests and his civil rights, including First Amendment rights.
The DOC regulations allow only two permanent categories of imprisonment, death row and general population. AC is by law only a temporary placement. It must be based on defined grounds, justified and implemented subject to procedural due process. None of the grounds listed in the DOC regulations for placement in AC apply to Mumia. In fact, on December 8, 2011 the DOC transferred Mumia from death row at SCI Greene and onto a cellblock that does not house capital inmates. On December 14, the DOC ordered Mumia moved to a medium security facility, SCI Mahanoy, which by regulation cannot hold death row prisoners.
The response by the DOC via telephone by Chief Counsel Suzanne Hueston was that Mumia is in AC pending resentencing and further evaluations. These are bogus explanations. The December 2001 federal court ruling that Mumia’s death sentence is illegal has been upheld on appeal. The District Attorney has stated there will be no trial to obtain a new death sentence. Therefore Mumia should be in general population.
Nor is there a reason or basis for “further evaluation.” Mumia has been confined in Pennsylvania prisons for some thirty years. The DOC unquestionably knows his history, conduct and behavior. There is nothing in Mumia’s personal record to justify holding him in Administrative Custody.
The DOC’s treatment of Mumia is punishment for depriving the FOP and Philadelphia District Attorney of his execution. This is the latest attempt by this frame-up system to silence Mumia, an innocent man, and to subject him to tortuous, punitive conditions in the hole.
Rachel Wolkenstein, Attorney
January 7, 2012
1) Write Call Phone and email the Secretary of Corrections
Tell them that Mumia must be immediately transferred to General Population.
John Wetzl, Secretary Department of Corrections
2520 Lisburn Road,
P.O. Box 598
Camp Hill, PA 17001-0598
717) 975-4928 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Write Call Phone and email the Secretary of Corrections
John Kerestes, Superintendent
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932
3) Write Call Phone and email the Philadelphia DA
Seth Williams, DA Philadelphia
Three South Penn Square
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3499
and finally if you can send Mumia a note or a card.
Write to Mumia
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932
SisMarpessa wrote 1002 Days Ago (neutral)0PLEASE READ, ACT, and FORWARD BROADLY!
Sent: 1/20/2012 1:20:11 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: Mumia Update
URGENT MESSAGE RE: MUMIA ABU JAMAL
As most of you already know, Mumia was transferred to SCI-Mahanoy in upstate PA. more than a month ago, directly after Phila. prosecutor Seth Williams announced that he wasn’t pursuing the death penalty in Mumia’s case. This meant that Mumia’s sentence went from death to life in prison without parole. Since arriving at SCI-Mahanoy, Mumia has been in the hole, on AC (administrative custody) status, solitary confinement, even though there is no valid reason for him to be in the hole. The conditions are tortuous and much worse than the conditions on death row. These conditions have been condemned by the United Nations as tortuous. Since arriving at Mahanoy, Superintendent John Kerestes and his staff have gone from one thing to the next to vent their fury and racism on Mumia. First they claimed to be waiting on paperwork that Mumia’s sentence is a life sentence and not death, but Mahanoy has no death chamber so Mumia would never be sent there if he still had a death sentence. When people saw right through that, Kerestes said that Mumia has to cut his hair before going into general population, now he’s saying that Mumia has to let them take his blood (something Mumia really doesn’t want to do) before he can be in general population. Mumia has been in prison for 30 years so why this sudden demand for his blood now. It is crystal clear that Kerestes and his staff are doing everything they can to keep Mumia in the hole under these tortuous conditions, and it’s all rooted in racism and their fury at all the world-wide attention that stays focused on Mumia, after all these years. They’re furious that their plan to legally kill Mumia ain’t working. They’re torturing Mumia for the same reason the Romans tortured Jesus Christ, because he won’t go along with the lies of the system and racism. Prison policy has nothing to do with what they’re doing to Mumia and everybody should be clear on this. We must be vigilant over Mumia, including organizations that can visit him on an official basis. We must continue to flood Supt. Kerestes with calls and emails. Mumia is up in serious racist KKK territory and we must have his back. We’ve brought Mumia too far to get lax now. Remember, the power of the people is a force to be reckoned with when the power of the people stays consistent and united.
International Concerned Family And Friends Of Mumia Abu Jamal and
The Move Organization